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Forum Name: Arrhythmias

Question: Chest Fluttering


 ecoli - Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:52 am

About 12 years ago (when I was 18), I started suffering from chest pains. My doctor told me it was Fibrositis, and put me on a simple course of ibuprofen. Over the years, the pain has reoccurred infrequently, with different levels of pain from very mild to moderate, and tends to change according to whether I lie down, stand up, etc.

For the last while, I have also been feeling a fluttering sensation in my chest, which is a rather scary feeling. When it happens, I feel a sensation similar to that physical sensation you feel when you receive a very bad fright - like the blood drains from your face (I'm not sure if this is actually because I DO feel frightened when it happens, or whether it's a part of the fluttering sensation). The fluttering never lasts more than 1 - 2 seconds, and I have no other symptoms - ever. The reason I mentioned the above chest pain is to determine whether the fibrositis was a misdiagnosis, and whether it may actually be connected to the fluttering as a symptom of a more grave disorder. The fluttering is infrequent, and I can go months without feeling it, but then it might happen twice in one week. I am 30 and am otherwise in perfect health. No fatigue, no dizziness, or anything else associated with coronary issues. What do you think it may be? Thanks for your help.
 ecoli - Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:56 am

By the way, the mild chest pain locates itself in different locations, from the centre, to the right, to the left, and may often radiate to my back. It's never bad pain though. Usually nothing more than mild discomfort. Thanks.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:52 am

User avatar Hello ecoli: From the sound of your symptoms you probably are having two different things go on at once, which is causing some confusion and anxiety for you. The pains you describe do sound like an inflammatory process and not like cardiac pain, which almost always will show up deep in the center of the chest and radiate to one or both shoulders, arms, and even the little finger, as well as up into the neck and lower jaw. However, even for atypical cardiac pain, what you describe seems rather like something else, as atypical pain almost always occurs in some points along the pathway described above, ie: in the left (or both) shoulders, one or both elbows, wrists, the neck or the jaw. It may also show up in the center of the upper back. Yours seems to be popping up in rather random locations. However, the severity of any suspect chest pain should not be the measure of its importance, but rather where it occurs and what else is going on at the same time. For instance, does movement, such as twisting of your upper body, reaching, bending, etc., evoke the pain? Is the pain aggravated by exertion or does it occur at rest? The answers to these questions can help determine what sort of pain you are having. It sounds like your doctor got the pain diagnosis right off the bat.

The fluttering sensation in your chest is probably Premature Atrial or Ventricular Contractions (PACs and PVCs). These are quite normal and common with or without heart disease, and can be provoked or aggravated by caffeine, nicotine, anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, inhalation of noxious fumes, etc. The list is quite long, and sometimes there is no apparent reason for them.

It doesn't appear that the chest pain and the fluttering sensation (palpitations) are likely to be related. However, only a medical doctor can make certain of this, so if you are made uneasy by the fluttering it would make sense to visit your doctor and bring this matter up to him. A resting EKG and perhaps a 24-hour Holter monitor study could rule out anything out of the ordinary and help you to feel more relaxed about the sensations.

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